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3d DCA Watch -- Important Bunker New Year's Notice To All Litigants!

I just learned of this critically "Important Notice to Litigants Regarding Oral Argument" fresh from the state-of-the-art bunker linotype machine (last refurbished in 1983!):


Effective January 1, 2014, the Court has elected to adjust its practice of routinely granting oral argument on all final orders and judgments and non-final appeals to comport with Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.320. Oral argument will be heard by the Court only in those cases where it believes its consideration of the issues raised will be enhanced. That means you people really bore us.  Blah blah blah legal citation etc.  Try to spice things up!  Maybe a visual, or a flowchart, or just a different inflection in your voice -- anything, seriously.

Counsel and litigants are requested to follow the same practice when deciding whether to request oral argument. We know you won't listen and you think any case you are involved in demands oral argument because it is the most important case in the universe.  Sheesh, get over yourselves!

The parties are reminded that the Court has the authority to set a case for oral argument whether or not requested by a party, and routinely does so.  What we are saying is we don't pay attention to what you recommend anyway, so don't worry about it.

The Court reserves the right to remove the case from the oral argument calendar at any time before the date of oral argument. The Court will provide the parties of as much notice as reasonably possible of the removal of a case from the calendar.  BTW, "reasonably possible" means you could be waiting in the lawyer's lounge when you first hear we just cancelled your argument.
Happy New Year!


  1. This is just one of many degradations of the 3rd that is coming now that J. Schwartz is off the bench. Schwartz would never have allowed this to happen when he was there.

  2. Damn, I miss Judge Schwartz!

  3. This new policy is really unfortunate, especially for younger lawyers. I never participated in or witnessed an oral argument that made a difference in a case but the experience was invaluable in ganging insight into each individual judge's thinking and thus helping me to be more prepared and objective when analyzing my next case. It is also important for the for the court to maintain a public face and interact with attorneys. Otherwise, the use of the word "bunker" starts to gain a little bit of traction.

  4. Happy Friday, SFL.

  5. Horrible. Granting multiple extensions of time to file briefs and allowing OA in every case set that court apart, in a good way, from the other DCAs.

  6. If Justice happens in the "justice system" it is coincidence.

  7. Happy New Year everyone, let's make it a good one!

  8. I agree 11:07 AM. The 3rd DCA used to be routinely praised for its liberal interpretation of oral argument rules. It allowed lawyers to be lawyers and do their job. This is a disappointing trend.

  9. Fake Third DCA JudgeDecember 28, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Wait: Isn't this a good thing? We can all agree that the vast majority of appeals can be decided fairly and accurately on the papers. And we've all heard the familiar refrain that almost no judge changes his or her mind because of oral argument. The new policy is consistent with this, and encourages oral argument on only those appeals where oral argument would actually help the panel decide the appeal. By having fewer oral arguments, the judges should be able to do their jobs better and quicker. Shoot the Lawyers makes a fair point, but the benefits of having fewer oral arguments would seem to outweigh the costs.

  10. In my experience, the Third seemed to be at least as efficient--and quite possibly more efficient--than the other appellate courts who had implemented the hurry-up-and-file-with-no-oral-argument policies.

    I'd guess, and it is just a guess, that reducing the number of oral arguments will not make a real difference in the decision rate.

    Maybe Juan Ramirez will share his view.

  11. Maybe Juan will spare us, and stay off the blog comments as it seems unseemly and like he's trolling for business.

  12. Several judges on the 3rd (those that I have heard address the issue within the last few years) have stated that they have an open mind at most oral arguments and have downplayed or denied the often repeated accusation that they have their mind made up before oral argument.

    That being said, I notice that many oral arguments are one sided. One side gets up, gets a few questions if any and are invited to sit down. The other side get up and instead of being challenged on their points of law, are chastised and made to feel like they have committed some sort of unpardonable sin by filing an appeal. I know that sometimes such position by the court is proper, but it seems like it happens at almost every oral argument, or at least those I attend or watch on the internet.

  13. Phil - the incivility from the bench that you note : correlation to rothenbergs infection of the court ? After all , she's the gal who posted billboards in fatigues to " get criminals" . Under today's bar rules. , shed be sanctioned . Dangerous person . Only good thing is she's old .

  14. Spencer's WorldDecember 29, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Spencer Aronfeld ‏@aronfeld 13m
    We don't drink. But we had to buy this today traderjoeslist @ Trader Joe's
    from Pinecrest, FL

    The Man doesn't sleep. He doesn't stop. He is indefatigable. Here is a tweet of him shopping at Trader Joes at 8AM Sunday. Just amazing.


  16. OA was used to move the case along. Once OA was set, there was a limit to how many extensions there would be on a reply brief. And judges would confer immediately after OA & get the decision ball rolling. I believe 3d had the fastest decision rate of the DCAs for many years, in large part because of that.
    Plus, it helps the parties, especially individuals who are not regular participants in the justice system, feel that they are actually getting a hearing.
    This is not an improvement.

  17. Judge Rothenberg's opinions are scholarly, logical, easy to read, and on point. Who, incidentally, on that court writes better criminal decisions than she does. That court is a barren desert when it comes to criminal law.


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